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ASU, Chandler High host Career Exploration Day to encourage early career preparation among high schoolers

ASU and Chandler High students mingle around tables in a gymnasium setting.

Career Exploration Day featured career exploration workshops, an industry and employer networking showcase, and resource tables hosted by ASU staff and students eager to show Chandler High students the range of professional development and engagement opportunities available at ASU. Photo courtesy ASU Educational Outreach and Student Services

March 02, 2023

The students of today will become the working professionals and business leaders of tomorrow. With this in mind, Arizona State University and Chandler High School partnered to present an interactive Career Exploration Day for nearly 800 Chandler High students.

The goal of the event was to introduce nearly 800 high school juniors to career and professional development opportunities that will help prepare them for success. The Chandler Center for the Arts was transformed into a career exploration hub on Feb. 17, where students could discover new opportunities and start getting ready for the future of work.

“We have been working with ASU in a variety of capacities, especially since the pandemic, to create more opportunities for students by expanding access to the abundance of resources they have been able to provide,” said Michael Franklin, principal of Chandler High School. "They chose us as one of four schools to pilot this unique opportunity with."

Taylor Robinson, a Chandler High School junior and aspiring engineer, said the event helped her and her peers gain a better understanding of college majors and careers that interest them.

“Having this day really prioritizes college,” Robinson said. “If we don’t know what to do, we have opportunities to figure that out and further our understanding of the career we want to go into."

The daylong event featured career exploration workshops, an industry and employer networking showcase, and resource tables hosted by current ASU students representing registered clubs and organizations eager to show Chandler students the range of student engagement and professional development opportunities available at ASU.

“Chandler High School is an innovative, inclusive school that supports the success of its students at all levels, and we are excited to expand our partnership in this unique way,” said Vanessa Ruiz, deputy vice president of educational outreach with ASU. “This dynamic school community is a natural choice to partner with from an ASU perspective, as we want to work with districts that support and invest in the growth and training of their students, best positioning them to be successful after high school graduation, no matter their background or circumstances."

Each student in attendance at the event took the ASU-powered me3 career interest inventory survey to discover careers that fit their interests. me3 was created from research using a Euclidean distance matching algorithm. Fundamentally, me3 determines a student’s RIASEC score, which reflects their levels of interest in information, things, people and ideas, as they make decisions while taking a visual quiz. Finally, using information from the U.S. Department of Labor, me3 compares a student’s results to those of over 500 different careers. The results presented are the careers with the scores that are most similar to the student’s individual results.

Additionally, the Chandler students were able to use their me3 results to begin exploring career paths and college majors that align with those interests, with guidance from ASU Career and Professional Development Services staff.

Damian “Joey” Woodruff, a third-generation Chandler High School student, said he’s considered many career possibilities over the years, from becoming a lawyer to a police officer. He said the Career Exploration Day was about “figuring out what you want to do in life, like what do you want to major in (and) what sounds interesting to you.” 

“I feel like this is an important day for me because I can go home and be like, ‘Mom, I know what I want to do, I know what I want to major in now.’ I know how I want to proceed with my life after high school,” Woodruff said.

“I’m very happy with how today went and how much it taught me over these couple of hours."

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average worker will hold 12 different jobs in their lifetime, many of which didn't exist a few years ago. Safali Patel, associate vice president of Educational Outreach and Student Services at ASU said this changing career landscape requires helping students develop agility, adaptability and a strong professional network to support their success after high school and through their college years.

"Employers are becoming increasingly aware that in order to meet workforce needs, they must begin building a talent pipeline with students while they are still in high school,” Patel said. "Events like the Career Exploration Day allow students to discover careers and industries that match their interests and passions in ways they might not have considered before."

Franklin also emphasized the urgency for employers and students to begin college and career exploration efforts early.

“In our growing and changing world, students have choices, and industries are recognizing they need to capture the interests of students well before they are ready to enter the workforce. Career exploration events like this one allow them to capture interest at the outset," Franklin said.

To learn more about college readiness programs and services, visit the Access ASU website.

Video courtesy ASU Educational Outreach and Student Services